Sunday, September 10, 2017

Kauai Half Marathon

My husband and I were planning a trip to Hawaii, and it just so happened that this race was on the same weekend we'd be there! So obviously, I had to sign up.

Packet pick-up was at the Grand Hyatt in Koloa. We were staying up in Princeton, so it was a good 1.5 hour drive to the south side of the island. The Grand Hyatt was beautiful though!!! I really liked some of the race merch, and got a shirt, a sweat towel, and a beach towel. The beach towel seemed fitting for a Hawaiian race.

We were up at 2 am on race morning. We left the hotel at 3 am because we had a little over an hour drive to the race. We got to Koloa pretty early, so we sat slept in the car for a bit. Before the race start, they had a lot of food set up. It was pretty low key, but I really appreciated the food. I've never seen that before at a race.

The race started at 6 am. The first 4-ish miles were fine. We were going uphill, but it wasn't that bad. The sun started to rise around the 2nd mile. It's super humid right before the sun comes up, so I was ready for some of that humidity to burn off.

Mile 3.5-ish
Miles 4 through 6 were the toughest. It was a hilly climb and it seemed never ending. I never let myself walk though (I only walked at some of the water stops). We were rewarded with running through the tree tunnel. That was pretty special!

After the 7th mile, it was easier because it was all basically downhill back to the ocean. BUT, the sun was also getting really hot!!!

hot hot hot!
I had to walk a bit of this downhill portion. I was just so freaking hot. I really needed some shade. I finished with a time of 02:08:33. I'm really happy with my finish time on this course and in the heat. I did have pretty sore knees... i'm guessing it's from all of those hills!

Monday, August 14, 2017

SeaWheeze 2017

I was pretty sure I wasn't going to do SeaWheeze this year. I mean, I LOVE it. But it's becoming expensive to go to Vancouver every year and the anxiety to even get registered is unreal. When they allowed legacy runners to register in advance, I thought, might as well go then!!

Leading up to the race, I had anxiety about the smoke. One reason I love Vancouver is because of the blue skies and crisp, clean air. I was fixated on the weather and checking it constantly.

We arrived on Thursday, August 10th and it was hazy. It didn't smell smoky, and for that I was grateful. After dinner at Cactus Club Cafe (love that place), we headed out for an evening bike ride around Stanley Park. We had to get to bed early because it was going to be an early morning to get in the SeaWheeze store line! I woke up at 2:30 am, and was in line by 3 am. Yup, crazy. 

A part of me didn't want to wait in line for clothing, but I thought if I didn't I'd regret my decision and miss out (ahem, FOMO). It is a ton of fun and the line isn't boring. You make friends and get to share the excitement. Although... people cutting in line, joining friends in line, etc. is really frustrating. I was in the store by 7:20 am. And yes, it was crazy inside.

I thought the reflective gear was okay... not something that I had to have though. I really love what I brought home. I got exactly what I wanted, plus a shirt, haha.

Like last year, legacy runners received a different colored bracelet. All runners received a lulu bag and a water bottle. I was bummed that they were not doing hair or spray tattoos on the plaza. But they had new things like boxing (which didn't appeal to me). They were painting nails, but that line moves super slow. I didn't do any of the yoga on Saturday... they offered three different sessions this year! I wanted to at least do one, but I was too tired for the 9 am session, too hungry for the Noon session, and we went out to dinner with family during the evening 7 pm session.

I love SeaWheeze weekend, but it's so tiring. (Okay, not as tiring as Disney Dopey). But there are a lot of early mornings. Thursday we were up at 3 am to catch an early flight, up at 2:30 am on Friday to get in line for the store, up at 5:00 am on Saturday to get ready for the 7 am race start. Then it's time to run 13.1 miles!!!

I went into the race with no specific goal. It's an easy course, but the congestion is what makes it hard. Also, I didn't know how I'd react with the air quality although it looked like conditions improved big time on race day.

I ran this race based on how I felt. I wasn't going for a PR. I just wanted to experience it as much as I could. I high-fived a lot of people, I read race signs, I walked through water stops, I enjoyed all of the entertainment. If you read my past SeaWheeze recaps, I struggle through this race. I think because I'm on my feet a ton leading up to the race, tired, and probably drinking too many caesars. But I felt GOOD. I didn't look at my time, I was only paying attention to my splits. I was happy with my splits, but knew I wasn't going to get a PR. Although I didn't PR, I did get a SeaWheeze course PR!!

2012 - 02:28:09
2013 - 02:15:02
2014 - 02:20:28
2015 - 02:26:08
2016 - 02:24:18
2017 - 02:02:03

HECK YAH! I'd like to give a shout out to my husband who did PR!

The finish area was less hectic than last year, but I also finished earlier. The medal isn't my favorite SeaWheeze medal, but it represents the sea wall and I like that. 

Race recaps from previous SeaWheezes:

I did manage to finally do yoga at the Sunset Festival. I really liked the session with Goldie. She is a great teacher! We didn't stay for the music... I was too hungry and too tired.

I decided that it was best for us to wake up early again on Sunday morning and do the Grouse Grind. I've never done it, and I didn't quite know what to expect, but I knew it was going to be a challenge. It was raining, but we went for it. Yes, definitely one of the most challenging things I have ever done. Plus I had tired legs from the half marathon. It took us 1 hour and 20 minutes to get up. WOW, what an experience!!!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Need for Speed 5k

I  signed up earlier this summer for Big River Running's summer speed work. I didn't know what to expect because this was my first time doing speed work, but I really enjoyed it!  I was been able to make most of the workouts, but skipped the last two sessions because of the stupid heat (100+ degree temps).

Big River Running puts on the Need for Speed 5k to see how much we've improved from the summer speed work. When I signed up, I didn't realize it was a Friday night. I've never raced in the evening, and you never know what you're going to get temperature wise on a July evening. Anyways, the weather turned out to be better than it had been, but it was still warm. 

I thought this race was tough. Probably because of the time and I was sort of hungry... the weather was also a factor. The first mile was lovely... all downhill. I ran a 7:31. It didn't feel that bad... but I knew I wouldn't be able to hold that pace. I ran an 8:20 pace on the second mile. Yup, sounds about right. The third mile was tough (9:42). Most of it was uphill and I was feeling kind of dizzy. 

I didn't hit a PR, in fact, I was far from it. I finished in 26:30. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Macklind Mile 2017

Another year, another Macklind Mile. This was my 3rd time doing this race. I was just reading my blog post from the last time I ran it... and I started by saying that this isn't a race you really train for. Well, I was so wrong. I've been doing speed work weekly with Big River Running. My PR on this course was 6:55. I ran a mile earlier this week and PR'd at 6:42. Today my goal was to come in under 6:45, with the hope of having a PR.

I was nervous at the start because I knew this was going to be hard work. And yup, it hurt. I pushed as hard as I could and didn't allow myself to slow down. I finished in 6:30, 5th in my age group (out of 36) and 55th female overall (249 total).

I still can't believe I did a 6:55 at my first Macklind Mile in 2013. I was only 25 seconds faster today, and I've been working harder to get faster. That doesn't make me too happy, but it was still a PR.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Big Run

This race was held on Global Running Day (June 7). It's called The Big Run because it's held throughout the nation, and you get to compare your time with everyone that ran this race nationally. The race we held at Lakeside 370 Park. This was a "new to me" area, so I didn't know if it was flat, hilly... if we'd be running on road. I met up with my friend Ann to run this race. It was on a Wednesday evening, which was also different for me. I was worried about weather, but we were lucky and it was in the 70s. 

Turns out we were running on a shared-use path. I was a bit worried about congestion, but this wasn't a huge race. I started off quick, and tried to keep it. I've been doing speed work with Big River Running, as I am trying to improve my 5k speed. First mile was a 7:38 pace.

I felt like my heart was on fire, but I knew I could continue to push it. Second mile was a 7:56 pace. Although I started to slow down, I'm still happy with my third mile pace (8:16). I finished with a time of 24:57, and my 5k PR is 24:56. Doh! Next time I guess. 

Female: 8/214
Female 30-39: 3/36
Overall: 53/352

National rank: 682/4585

Saturday, April 1, 2017


I'm not going to lie, I signed up for this race because of the medal. Also, it's labeled as the prettiest half marathon, and I was looking for something scenic and not too serious. Plus, it's only a 5 hour drive from St. Louis! Simon and Gus came with, and they loved their time in Kentucky (at least that's what I think).

I loved that the race started at 9 am. I had plenty of time to grab breakfast at the hotel, and I even got to Keeneland early enough to get a great parking spot.

I was pretty cold at the race start, but I also didn't want to overdress. I LOVED that they played My Old Kentucky Home after the Star-Spangled Banner. I also loved that they played the trumpet first call at the beginning of each wave.

I knew nothing about the course. I read that it was technically challenging. During the first 2-3 minutes or so, I knew it was going to be a bitch because there was a rather steep hill. I tagged along with the 2 hour pace group, but left them pretty quick because I just wanted to move faster.

I was moving pretty quick, but it was hilly... I think I'm going to have nightmares about those hills. I'm sort of glad that I didn't know the course at all because if I did, I probably would have been more conservative at the start.

Mile 1: 8:36
Mile 2: 8:16
Mile 3: 8:22
Mile 4: 8:54
Mile 5: 8:32
Mile 6: 8:52

Mile 6 is when things started to get tough. I burped and a bit of puke came up. I swallowed it. Gross. I also started questioning a PR at this point too. I was tired, and the hills were killing me. I thought there was no way I could keep this up for another 7 miles. I also started walking some of the hills.

Mile 8.5
Mile 7: 9:21
Mile 8: 9:16
Mile 9: 9:08

Mile 10 was Meg's mile. I thought I would fight through the pain, but I just couldn't. So I walked.

Mile 10: 10:31

I thought I lost it - - the PR. I honestly didn't care. I told myself that this was good training for the Go! next week. I was secretly trying for a sub-2 hour half marathon, but then I was mentally drained and couldn't be optimistic anymore.

Mile 11: 9:48

I got some beer here. That gave me a good boost of energy. I was so happy I was almost done.

...Then the 2 hour pace group caught up to me, and they were seriously like the Balloon Ladies at the Disney races. I was like, OH HELL NO. And I picked it up. I looked at my watch and I was like, I can totally come in under 2 hours. Then it turned into a race against time.

Mile 12: 8:55
Mile 13: 9:02

Holy crap! After years of chasing the elusive sub-2 hour half marathon, I finally did it on a hilly fucking course. I walked through 7 water breaks... I walked and texted Josh at mile 11 to say, "FUUUUU, hilly fucking bitch." I walked at least 4 different hills. I finished with a time of 1:58:11. A good three minutes faster than NYC.

My awesome finish photo:

I LOVE my medal. I think it's so cool that Lexington is on the medal, and the stopwatch was mass produced because of him. HOW COOL that I FINALLY broke 2 hours, and the medal is what encouraged me to sign up for this race. Cheers, Lexington!

Monday, March 20, 2017

NYC Half Marathon

We were supposed to arrive in NYC Wednesday afternoon... however, a winter storm delayed our departure by a day. We arrived Thursday morning and went straight to the expo. Since this is such a huge half marathon, I thought it was going to be pretty busy. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I got my bib, shirt, and bought a couple extra shirts. I was super happy with the shirt and merchandise.

Then we walked and walked and walked. We walked on average 11 miles each day - Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. SMART. I also ate a ton. Mmmm.

I was nervous race morning. I knew I was going to be tired... but it was cold. The weather was right around freezing. I was worried about over dressing and I meant to leave my jacket with Josh. I ended up taking my jacket since I was going to be waiting in my corral for an hour before the start. I'm glad I did. I looked pretty funny waiting for the race to start.

When the race started, I was sore. I kind of thought it was going to turn into a shit show. My toes and fingers were also a bit numb. I did not check my pace, I just went with how I felt. The first 6 miles were in Central Park, and it was quiet and calming. There were rolling hills and it reminded me of Tower Grove Park. It felt like home. Around the 2nd mile I started to get a bit warm. I tied my jacket around my waste and I just kept on moving. 

We exited Central Park and headed onto the city streets on 7th Avenue. It now felt like a different race. It was louder and felt much cooler. I put back on my jacket and I felt strong. We were also running alongside the kid race. That was way cool as well! 

Running through Times Square was ah-mazing!!! It gave me so much energy. There were so many people along the race course, but especially here. 

We then took 42nd Street all the way to 11th Ave/West St. We were on this for over three miles and I could see Freedom Tower most of the way. I was in a bit of pain, but running towards Freedom Tower gave me such a powerful feeling. I kept thinking about 9/11 and what that was like for people observing it first hand. 

I still didn't know my pace and if I was on track for a PR or a sub-2 hour half marathon. I honestly didn't expect to do well since I was tired and on vacation. I just wanted to enjoy my race and take in all of the experiences. I felt like I was moving fast, but really had no clue. We made our way through the tunnel and the uphill exit was painful. I also started to warm up again, so I tied my jacket around my waist. 

I finished with a time of 2:01:39, which is a new PR!! I couldn't believe it. I stopped at all water breaks, I took photos, and just did what my body wanted to do. My goal was to use this race as a training run for a couple half marathons in April. I didn't come in under 2 hours... but I was close. It better happen this year.

I LOVED this race. It's one of my favorites. The support from the crowd was never ending and I just loved running NYC.